Wake Forest Hangs On Late to Down Bulldogs, 67-59
Dec. 18, 2011
With the win, the Demon Deacons improved to 7-4 on the season behind a career night from senior center Ty Walker, who tied his career high with 12 points and set a new personal best with nine rebounds. Junior guard C.J. Harris led Wake with 18 points, while sophomore forward Travis McKie chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman guard Chase Fischer helped the Deacs close out the win with five late free throws to finish with 11 points in front of a home crowd of 6,717.
Gardner-Webb's Tashon Newsome paced all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting and added nine rebounds to keep G-W close - the game featured 13 lead changes - but Wake hit 9-of-10 freebies over the last 1:13 to close out the win after going just 1-for-5 from the stripe before the late push.
McKie committed an early turnover to lead to G-W claiming the game's first points, but the forward made up for it with a triple on the Deacs' next trip down the floor to put Wake up, 3-2. After two Bulldog free throws, the Wake would then beat some early full-court pressure for a quick three-pointer by Harris at the 18:14 mark.
Five minutes later, Walker picked up his first bucket out of the afternoon's first media timeout to make it a 12-9 game.
It would remain a one possession struggle until back-to-back three-point buckets by Fischer gave the Deacs their biggest lead, 22-15, with 9:49 left in the first half. On the second make, Fischer pump-faked a Bulldog defender before calmly stroking the shot from the right wing.
Gardner-Webb battled back to within one as the Deacs struggled to pull away and eventually took their first lead since the opening basket, 27-26, on mid-range jumper by Newsome.
The Deacons emphatically reclaimed the lead, however, with a block and rebound on the defensive end by Walker followed by an explosive move to the basket by McKie, who split two defenders and lifted off for a dunk over G-W's Corey Hensley.
With 3:19 to go, Newsome buried a pair of freebies to put G-W right back on top, 29-28.
Wake scored next on a set play from McKie to Harris, but a free throw by Donta Harper tied things up at 30 as the clock wound down. The Bulldogs were able to secure the half's last shot after Chennault mis-fired on a floater, and Jason Dawson buried a three from the right corner to give G-W a 33-30 lead going into the locker room.
A 12-2 run out of the locker room put Wake back in control, 42-35, over the first 3:52 of the second half. Harris put the exclamation point on the scoring spurt, knocking down a three from the right wing to force a Bulldog timeout.
After a scoring drought of 3:25, Walker poured in the next four on a dunk and a tip-in to give Wake a 46-38 advantage. McKie then hit a jumper to give Wake a double-digit lead, 48-38, with 11:21 to play.
G-W cut the lead in half, but Wake responded with six straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 54-43. After a McKie jumper at the 7:27 mark, Wake would go cold for the next 4:10 when the drought finally ended on a lay-in by Walker.
A pair of free throws by Harris with 1:13 left on the clock stretched the Deacon lead back to six and he would bury another pair just 29 seconds later to make it a 62-56 game.
Fischer then closed out the Bulldogs with five makes in six tries to finish in double figures for the fifth time this season.
The Deacs will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 21 versus UNC Wilmington. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.